For the birds

Happy Monday! I’m sitting at my kitchen table, watching it snow and blow outside. We have maybe four inches on the ground right now – it was worse to the east of Washington DC, and we live to the west. Still, this is more snow than we’ve gotten this entire winter here, and even though it’s March 1 and I’m pretty much over all things winter, I have to admit, it’s awfully pretty.

Of course, in typical DC-area fashion, THE WHOLE WORLD IS SHUT DOWN. Schools! Courts! Governments! Daycare Centers!  The TV news reporters sent their people out for LIVE TEAM COVERAGE. They are brushing their feet back and forth on the sidewalk to show that the SNOW IS ACCUMULATING! They are attempting to gauge snowball-readiness by crunching fistsful of snow for their eager viewers.  They are advising people to “stay home and don’t go out unless you absolutely need to,” because around here, we need to give the road crews room to work. And keep our children safe.  Because half a foot of snow can KILL YA!!

They can’t possibly overreact like this in parts of the country where it actually does snow from time to time.

Soup Husband Curt failed to heed the news reporters’ dire warnings. He is on his way to his second day of his new job. Otherwise, he’d be here. Nobody loves a good snow storm more than my husband. Fortunately, we have a 4×4 Jeep that will get him there, as long as he stays out of the way of the GIANT SNOW PLOWS and all the amateur drivers out there who never really learned how to drive in the snow.

I have the best view out my kitchen window of our bird feeder, and let me tell you, it looks like the feathered set is having a fantastic fete out there.  There must be 10 to 15 of them swarming around the feeder and the pile of sticks at the bottom.   Once they have their fill, they flit over to the holly bush right in front of our window so we can get a better look. There appears to be a variety of species involved – an inclusive party for sure – and a better person might bust out the bird guide and actually look ’em up.  I can tell the cardinal from the rest, but other than that, I can only tell you that there are some black ones, a few brown ones, and one with a yellow beak. Curt said it may look like a party, but in reality, it’s probably Darwinism at it’s worst out there, with the big birds intimidating the little birds and whatnot.

A better-equipped blogger would insert interesting photos of birds in the snow right… HERE. However, I loaned my camera to a friend, and she thinks the memory chip she put into it may have, um, sizzled it, to the point where she admitted that she might owe me a new camera. This was not a special camera, just a digital point & shoot, but it suited my needs just fine.  We have bad camera karma – it was our third camera in, oh, the past 4 or 5 years. They keep getting dropped or fried or otherwise rendered nonfunctioning.

So then – as we begin what will probably (hopefully?) be the winter’s final snow day, I wish you all a wonderful day. Stay warm and dry, indulge in hot chocolate or homemade soup.  And try to view this day through children’s eyes, because there’s nothing quite as magical as waking up to a snowstorm big enough to have canceled school. 

…and I’m certain my oldest son will feel that way, just as soon as he wakes up… it’s 9:00 a.m. and he’s still blissfully unaware. TEENAGERS. Harumpf.

Snowman

Originally uploaded by nature55

 

Despite the so-called “winter weather advisory” that was issued for our area overnight, we had little more than a flurry at our house. Oh sure, other counties in Maryland had enough snow to delay school, but not ours. Apparently, it no longer snows here. It’s butt-cold, but not snowy.

I don’t love the cold, but I do enjoy a good snowstorm.  I get annoyed by all the winter clothes and boots and scarves and orphan mittens strewn about the entryway of our house, but the kids really enjoy frolicking in the snow.

TIME TO FEED MY SNOW JONES.  If you’re craving snow too, you may enjoy this photo (thanks, Flickr!) of a real live snowman that some people made in a place in the world where it still snows enough to create snowmen.

The sky is falling!

Today is my kids’ third consecutive day off school.  Last Friday was the end of the marking period, so Monday was a scheduled professional day for the teachers. Then Tuesday, measurable snow was in the weather forecast, and because there were flakes falling from the sky at 4:00 a.m., the Good Folks who run the county schools’ transportation department called school off FOR THE WHOLE DAY.

And then, it snowed veerrrrrryy lightly all day, and to say we got one inch of accumulation is me being generous.  It really wasn’t even enough to go sledding, although the boys sure tried.

But that’s not all! Sleet and freezing rain began around dinnertime yesterday and continued during the night. Temps were expected to be below freezing, sooooo, to continue the streak, MoCo called off school AGAIN.  For the whole day. Even though it’s supposed to warm up and start melting.

I know the people charged with making these decisions do the best with the information they have at the time. The forecast did call for a couple inches of snow, so given that, perhaps they figured it would be better to keep the buses off the roads and let the snow plows do their thing. I don’t know about you, but when I was a kid, my bus would roll up with chains on the tires when it was snowy. Gotta get the kids to school.

Last night’s ten o’clock news started with this:

WINTER’S WRATH! LIVE TEAM COVERAGE!

Live team coverage of…. an inch of snow.

Motorists were advised to stay off the roads if you don’t have to be out. Use extreme caution! There could be slick spots; it’s extremely dangerous! This from a fur-hat-wearing reporter perched on some highway overpass to demonstrate just how slippery it is. Yeah. It’s ICE. It’s gonna be a little bit slippery.

QUICK! PROTECT THE WOMEN AND CHILDREN! IT’S SUPPOSED TO SNOW, LIKE, AN INCH OR SO!

What are snow days good for?

  • sleeping in
  • catching up on laundry
  • Facebook and blogging
  • baking cookies and bread
  • early afternoon happy hours

What are snow days NOT good for?

  • diets
  • personal hygiene
  • getting anyting resembling “work” accomplished
  • keeping the entryway free from soggy snow gear and wet spots on the wood floor
  • My bank account (I don’t get paid when I don’t work)

Growing up in PA, the weather of the past two days would have warranted little more than a passing glance.  My parents would’ve been all, better wear your boots to school because your feet’ll get wet at recess.  In fact, two years ago, we lived in PA during the winter, and the boys were advised to wear/bring snow gear and boots because of course, the kids are most certainly going outside at recess to play in the snow. Here? Our coddled youth are not permitted outdoor recess when the temperature dips below 32 degrees.

Last night we were urging the boys to bed at their usual time, around 9pm. The Boss was resisting because, he said, obviously, it’s white outside, they will cancel school again tomorrow. Yes, we countered, but until we hear it officially, we are assuming we are all going to school and/or work, so go to sleep. NOW. Whatever, he replied. We were struck by how he has become conditioned to expect the knee-jerk school closing.  Indeed, I think the entire region is similarly conditioned.

We have a friend who grew up in snowy Lake Placid, NY, home of many a winter sports enthusiast. She said, they never, ever canceled school because everyone – students and teachers alike – would’ve just gone skiing. Also, they managed perfectly fine with a big ole station wagon, not some pimped-out 4WD SUV.

I’m sure the Washington, DC area is the laughing stock of places in the country where the world does not, in fact, come to a grinding halt whenever a few snowflakes fall.  To the hardy folks in those areas, I would like to say, seriously – we aren’t all like that. Some of us would prefer to go on about our lives.  But, until the media stops trumpeting about Winter’s Wrath when “The Area’s First Major Winter Storm” consists of an inch of snow and a little bit of ice, I expect we will continue to be ridiculed.

Heck, even our new president, whose daughters stayed home from Sidwell today, was all, what, for some ice? (Thanks for the link, Curt!)

And don’t get me started about the obligatory reporter stationed outside of a grocery store, where frantic residents are clearing the shelves of bread, milk and toilet paper, or the hardware stores selling rock salt and shovels.  People, it’s winter. You should already know to have this stuff.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to put some vodka in my orange juice shoo my stinky boys into the shower. It’s been a couple of days and they are RIPE.